I knew I wanted to work in IT since I was 10 years old. To this end, I completed my Master’s degree in Computer Science and started my professional career as a developer. Most of my professional career focused on Salesforce development and architecture.
In many of the Salesforce implementations that I worked on, we needed to integrate third-party systems. I often had to design and build a solution for these integrations keeping in mind the Salesforce constraints and what tools were available at my disposal. Some of these integrations were point-to-point integrations with an API callout to the third-party system from Apex code. Some of them used pre-build connectors that worked with Salesforce. Others used a workflow rule and an outbound message. And some used middleware, like MuleSoft.
I always enjoyed working on designing these integrations and working within the constraints of the Salesforce platform to come up with a good design. With different projects, came different integrations, and with different integrations, came different systems.
In this blog post, I’ll share my journey as a Salesforce Technical Architect then expanded my skills into MuleSoft — with what started out as curiosity that then transitioned into a beneficial career move.
My first introduction to MuleSoft
When Salesforce announced their acquisition of MuleSoft in 2018, I was curious about how MuleSoft would fit in with Salesforce’s tech stack. What made it different from the other integration platforms that I worked with in the past? While my curiosity began in 2018, I didn’t start learning how to use Anypoint Platform until late 2019. A project I was working on was using MuleSoft to integrate various systems including Salesforce — and this became a motivating factor to start using it.
I began my learning journey in late 2019 with the Mule 4 Anypoint Platform Development Fundamentals self-paced class. While this helped me get started, I was still looking for more instruction. To this end, I took the instructor-led version of the same course in early 2020. In addition to these classes, I tried most of the labs that are part of the self-paced training course and also attempted the MCD – Level 1 / Development Fundamentals (Mule 4) Quiz and DIY exercises. All of the self-paced classes on MuleSoft’s training website are free, which is a great place to start if you are looking to begin your MuleSoft journey.
At this point, I had a good grasp on the development concepts and would be comfortable attempting the MuleSoft Certified Developer – Level 1 exam. I earned a free certification voucher with the instructor-led class, so I scheduled my exam for May of 2020. I usually take my exams in a testing center, but due to COVID-19, I took the exam from home.
Obviously, in the days leading up to the exam, I was nervous. The questions in the exam were quite tough and halfway through the exam I felt like I was not prepared to attempt the type of scenarios and questions in the exam. I tried my best at answering the questions, but unfortunately when I submitted the results, I failed! I was beyond disappointed.
Initially, I felt a little demotivated, but I knew I had to go back and address my knowledge gaps and retake the certification. I also knew where my shortcomings were and knew I could overcome those to pass the certification. Thus, I went back to my section scoring from the first exam, to review the areas where I had scored less than the passing percentage.
The main strategy I used for clearing up any doubts was trying out those areas through a mini project in Anypoint Studio. For example, I wasn’t clear on the batch processing concepts, so I created multiple projects with various scenarios and debugged those projects to understand what was happening so I could better understand these concepts in my next attempt. The other strategy I used for improving my skills was to search for a specific topic in more detail. The main sources of information for this were the MuleSoft documentation website and other MuleSoft blogs written by the MuleSoft Community.
Once I cleared my doubts in the areas, I scheduled my retake exam in July. This time, the hard work paid off — I passed!
My advice for your certification journey
My advice to anyone who is planning to attempt the certification without much practical experience – make sure you try out the labs or do your own practical mini projects to understand the concepts in detail. Remember that it’s ok to fail. Our mistakes help us improve and make us even stronger. MuleSoft gives you two attempts when you purchase any certification, so you always have the option to try again without having to pay again.
For others coming from a Salesforce background, know that it’s important to have a technical background to become a MuleSoft developer. If you’ve done integrations with Salesforce, especially with Java, many of these concepts will be easier to grasp. Depending on the complexity of the project there is usually coding involved such as writing custom connectors or writing transforms.
Amazing things can happen when you work hard towards your goals. Not only did I expand my skill set to add in MuleSoft, but I also got to be part of an amazing MuleSoft Community. I started out my journey due to the lack of information and content about Salesforce and MuleSoft combined use cases. Once I understood both sides, I knew I had to make it easier and help others looking for similar content.
I started writing my own blog where I cover different topics around how these two technologies work together. This blog grew much more than I expected it to and I really appreciate the MuleSoft Community for recognizing my community contributions and for the awards that I have won for these contributions.
Recently, I also became one of the first MuleSoft Mentors and I am here to help anyone looking to start their own MuleSoft Journey. Lastly, I am continuing to learn more every day and look forward to working with MuleSoft and the MuleSoft Community in the years to come.
Start your own MuleSoft journey today by signing up for a MuleSoft training self-paced course! Find all available MuleSoft training courses here.